I love this story (although I can’t remember where I spotted it!):
A prize-winning novelist has won a settlement of more than £100,000 after she claimed to have become so intoxicated by fumes from a nearby shoe factory that she was reduced to writing thrillers.
Joan Brady, who beat Andrew Motion and Carol Anne Duffy to win the Whitbread Prize in 1993 with her book The Theory of War, has received £115,000 in an out-of-court settlement after she suffered numbness in her hands and legs allegedly caused by solvents used by Conker, a cobbler based next to her home in Totnes, Devon.
She told The Times that the fumes were so bad that she was unable to concentrate on writing her highbrow novel, Cool Wind from the Future, and instead wrote a brutal crime story, Bleedout, which she found easier. The violent plot of the book also allowed her to vent her frustrations on the factory and South Hams District Council, which failed initially to detect the smells. According to Nielsen Book-scan, Bleedout has sold a respectable 10,000 copies.
If only some similar theory could be used to explain the quality of my first drafts…